Secretary of Commerce discusses impact right-to-work on Hoosier economy

An area hard-hit by the recession got a special visit from the man who calls himself a bragger when it comes to the Hoosier state.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Dan Hasler gave the keynote speech at an Elkhart Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday. Hasler said that emphasizing the benefits of doing business in Indiana to people throughout the country, and even the world, is one of the key factors when it comes to attracting new companies to the area.

Hasler said it is a matter of reaching the right audience and exposing it to the numerous benefits of setting up show in Indiana. He pointed to the Hoosier work ethic and even lower taxes as just some of the benefits available to companies who relocate to the state.

With the click of a remote, Hasler’s presentation scrolled through page after page of Indiana economic facts. And those numbers, Hasler said, are reason enough to brag.

“When Indiana has an opportunity to compete for business, we win about two thirds of the time,” Hasler said. “That tells us people like what they see here.”

While places like Elkhart are regaining some of the jobs that were lost during the recession, there is still room for improvement. Hasler said that certain incentives and legislation have been helping this process.

“About 50 companies have actually told us that the reason they are talking to Indiana, or that we're better in our attraction efforts, is because we did become the 23rd right-to-work state,” Hasler said. “We've had thirteen companies since then agree to come to Indiana at least in part because we have become a right-to-work state.”

Hasler said that analysis of these companies does not show that they are bringing lower wages to Indiana. But, it is still too early to come to any final conclusions on the impact of right to work.

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